Dept. Of Late Responses: Our Kickstarter Rant, One Year Later

kickstarterHard to believe it’s been a whole year since we called out dorkus malorkus indie rock bands for treating themselves like worthy 501c’s and competing for charitable dollars. But indeed, it has. And in that time, we’ve discovered both adherents to our position, as well as opponents, and also had many an awkward moment with musician friends who think that paying for one’s studio time and record pressing and tour expenses this way is a perfectly reasonable and not-objectionable thing to do. For the most part, we still agree with our one-year-younger selves, but out of nowhere, a year later, musician Gordon Withers decided to rebut last week. He said, in part:

A rising tide should lift all boats. Herein is my main problem with the author’s rant – he/she assumes a zero-sum game. I believe that excitement about the arts is infectious, with the ability to cross-pollinate and expand across artistic scenes.

We agree that there is something to that, but there’s gotta be a better way. What say you? Should Philebrity end its attendant moratorium on publicizing any rock band-related Kickstarters? Do we have to? Do you know what that would be subjecting you to? Really. We see these things all day long. On the other hand, as you wish. We live to begrudgingly serve.

Previously: Rant: Unless It Benefits Your Community, Your Kickstarter Campaign Is Beginning To Seem Offensive To Me

  • http://www.facebook.com/zack.wagner Zack Wagner

    This shit drives me crazy.

  • EmmKay

    I don’t have an issue with bands raising money this way as I think of crappy gigs as “paying your dues,” not pouring lattes. It takes A LOT of crappy gigs to fund a record. Kickstarter is really just a glorified pre-order, and bands are really only getting funded by superfans or if they are bringing something more to the table than “Donate more than you’d regularly pay & you get the CD/tshirt/thing you would have just bought anyway.”

    That said, bands should force themselves to use Pledge Music or some other Kickstarter-esque app that lets them donate a portion of the money raised to charity so more people can win from their project.

  • http://twitter.com/trisloth Gordon Withers

    Thanks for responding to my response! I think these are important conversations we in the arts/music community need to have. I still think that Kickstarter usage and quality is mostly a separate issue from community arts funding. I have some thoughts on the quality issue, though, which I’ll try to write up soon. Here’s the direction I’m going:
    - Is there a problem inherent in Kickstarter as a platform, or in a subset of the people using it?
    - Should Kickstarter themselves play a stronger curative role, or is that up to us? (Keep in mind that Kickstarter has dueling incentives: one to get commission on as many successful projects as possible, but another to keep the success ratio high and therefore retain credibility)
    - How can Kickstarter be used tastefully? What constitutes this? When does something deserve further (press/blog/sharing) mention? If a project’s main purpose is to serve as a pre-order, how is using Kickstarter different than doing a pre-order some other way?

    Very interested to continue this conversation.

  • friendlynerd

    I have no inherent problem with kickstarter fundraising, but if you start posting their pleadings here I will not be happy.